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August 22. 2012 My converted Craftsman Kit house to a Short Order Cafe

I added a significant change to the placement of this project on my layout to the end of this post on September 10th 

I bought a few Craftsman Kits over a period of time in the early to mid 1990s.  I assembled a #57 Campbell Railroad Station Kit early on, the rest have been on the shelf until a rainy day.  Well it seldom rains in Bakersfield so I finally decided to do it to it even without the rain.

As described in my July 27th post I started with my Campbell Silver Spur Mine, it isn't finished yet but it's very close.  I'm on hold with it waiting for some parts to animate the wench cable operation.  While I'm waiting I started a Classic Miniatures Kit, the Queen Ester Mine House.

It won't be used as a mine house though, I modified it to be a Short Order Cafe located across the road from my Campbell Kit Railroad Station.

I did remember to take a few pictures fairly early in to the project and a lot during the construction.

This is the template sheet from the kit.  I has full size templates for cutting all of the detail pressed clapboard and porch decking basswood. 

I moved pretty fast during construction of the basic building as you can see in the picture above.  The building is assembled and has some of my scratch built cafe equipment installed.  I used FolkArt Oak Acrylic Crafters Stain on the walls and tinted the Oak with FolkArt Walnut Stain at 15 drops of Oak to 1 drop of Walnut.
The counter and table tops are 1/16" basswood, the table supports are round tooth picks cut to 9/32" long.  The counter base is 13/32" high by  ¼" wide and 2¼" long balsa, that comes out to be 40" high by 30" deep and 16½ feet long.

The figures are not glued in place, I super glue my figures to .024" diameter #21 straight pins to paint them and then drill .025" with a #72 drill bit where I want to place the figure.  If depth isn't a factor then I leave the pin full length otherwise I cut it.

The figures in this building have the mounting pins cut off to ¼" because the floor depth is 5/16".

As you can see it's coming along nicely.  This kit is definitely not for the beginner.  It's relatively easy until you get to the wall alignment stage. 

This shows the card stock roof with the shingle alignment lines.  The shingles are made from 3/16" wide heavy brown paper and comes in a long roll.  The shingles have glue on the back of them.
This picture shows the under side of the roof with 2mm 12 volt lamps glued in place with Goop.  I will run a pair of bare #24 wire around the roof to connect the lights to the power connector rods.

The next several pictures show the roof setting on the walls and the final check before gluing it in place.


The picture below shows the Cafe with customers.  All the tables and seating are in place with customers waiting on food.

There is a problem, there's no kitchen yet.
I made the bench seats from a combination of balsa and basswood.  I found the ideal counter stool, a sewing pin with the round plastic ball on the end.  I used my Dremel tool with a sanding wheel to make it a half ball on a pin.  The bright colors help as a stool seat and the pin it's self looks like a chrome pipe.  

The customers are unpainted Preiser figures that I spent hours painting with Crafters Acrylics. 

In the picture above food and drink have been served, the food is painted the drinks are 1/16" piece of #24 telephone frame wire.  I stripped 1/16" of insulation off of a ⅛" piece of single conductor wire leaving 1/16" with insulation (glass or can) above the table/counter top and a 1/16" in a .02" hole in the table/counter top to hold it in place.

This close up shows the details of the beverage containers and food.

This kit has very good detail parts, one being the wrought iron ornamental Corbel porch roof brackets.

The picture above shows a post with a Corbel bracket.

In the picture above you can see some of the super details in this kit.  Note the fine detail of the patterned basswood, shingles, architectural wrought iron corbels and railing.  

In the pictures above and below some of the shingle strips have been glued in place.

The Classic Miniatures Instructions say to use a wet sponge to wet the glue on the back of the shingles, Campbell Kits say the same but that's a disaster.  The card stock roof will become too wet and warp badly, I found out that the hard way building my Campbell Station.  I now use Aleene's Wood glue with great results, it's much faster not near a messy and no warping.   

My Cafe is finished and the following pictures show the results of my venture.

I had a short piece of railing left so I tweaked it to make a hand rail up the front stairs. 

This is the finished building, customers are happy, the lights and animated sign work as planned.

The finishing touch is the Micro-Structures animated neon sign.  My Short Order Cafe is ready to be set in place on my layout across the road from my Railroad Station.


It's well into September now and I've made some changes to the above post on my layout.

The Cafe didn't fit in to the area across the road from my passenger station so I decided to swap places with an older building.  The Babe's Diner kit was changed to Doug's Diner after my son died in 2001 and it has been residing at the "Top of the Mountain" on my layout.  

The old diner looks much better across the road from my station than the house cafe version so I did the swap.  Doug got the new building for his Diner and Susie is getting a completely remodeled Babe's Diner as her Cafe.  My daughter Susan died in 1991 a week before her 21st birthday in a robbery.

This is Susie's new cafe.

There are two Micro Structure Animated Neon Cafe signs on the roof, one facing to the front and one facing to the rear.

When I first assembled the Babe's Diner in the mid 90s I used 1½ volt micro lights for illumination and during this upgrade I removed them and installed 12 volt 40ma 4mm diameter bulbs.  They put out about four times more light and really helped to see what's going on inside.

That's Susie next to the end of the counter.

I over hauled the entire interior, the table and chairs are no longer hand made.  They are Preiser #17219, I cut out a section from the center of the long tables to come up with the short ones.  The figures were mostly unpainted Preiser that I painted, a few are just miscellaneous 1:87 scale.

I think that my daughter would have really liked her new Cafe.

Coming soon______ Doug's new house!

It's almost finished
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